VA IG Says Waits Are Too Long:

Many veterans still face unacceptably long waits between the time they schedule an outpatient appointment and the actual appointment date, concluded an audit released Sept. 10 by the VA’s Inspector General. The IG found that wait periods were longer than that reported by the agency and that data was incomplete. The audit, a follow-up to a 2005 audit, examined 700 veterans’ appointments scheduled at 10 medical facilities. Although VA reported that 96 percent had wait times of 30 days or less, the IG audit found that 25 percent had wait times exceeding a month. And, VA has failed to implement five of eight recommendations from the earlier audit. Sen. Daniel Akaka, (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, called the situation “simply not acceptable.” He said, “I am concerned that VA’s underreporting of waiting times and backlog volumes makes it harder to identify problem facilities and allocate resources effectively.” He wants VA to use “reliable data.”